Report: Mutant Strain Was In US By Dec

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The new more transmissible coronavirus variant which was was first discovered in Britain, was likely to have been present in the US by December 2020, and could already be in every American by state now, a media report said.

The report posted on the Business Insider website on Wednesday said that more than 30 cases of the new variant have been reported in the five states of California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and New York, Xinhua news agency reported.

“But in all likelihood, the variant entered the US long before these infections were detected and has been spreading silently for weeks,” it said.

Charles Chiu, a professor of infectious diseases at University of California, San Francisco, was quoted in the report as saying that the variant “is circulating in our community now” as none of the infected people have recently travelled abroad.

Chiu said that the variant was introduced into the country “in early December or shortly afterwards”, and “it’s very likely that it’s in every state”, according to the report.

The professor also noted that it was “unlikely” that the new virus strain contributed hugely to recent spike of Covid-19 cases in the US.

“It doesn’t appear that this strain is prevalent, at least not currently,” the expert was quoted as saying in the report.

“But if this strain is indeed more transmissible, we may start seeing increasing proportion of infections by this strain,” he added.

While the variant does not appear to cause more severe disease in people who are infected and current vaccines should still work against it, it could lead to more hospitalisations as a result of an increase in cases, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.

As of Thursday morning, the US has registered a total of 21,292,109 coronavirus cases and 360,999 deaths.

The two tallies account for the highest in the world.

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